Saturday, November 9, 2013

YABBA Awards 2013

The Young Australian Best Book Awards (YABBA) was established in 1985. A volunteer managed event, YABBA is about engaging young people in reading Australian literature and becoming discerning readers. Most significantly, YABBA is a forum for children's voices to be heard about the books they are currently enjoying.

Although not short listed this year, I was invited to the  ceremony and it was a grand affair. There were over 300 children and more than 20 authors. The program was punchy and entertaining from the get-go, including drawing games, performances from the host school (Hailebury College) and a collective sing. The YABBA organisers had the children firmly in mind throughout.

The morning finished with the authors lined around the room at signing tables and this for me, was extraordinary. My book Lyrebird! A true story has enjoyed a few accolades (this is nice) but at the YABBAS I met my readers; one after the other came to my table and shared with me what the story meant to them, their sister, brother, mother, teacher ...  Days later, I'm still moved by the words of these children. One student said (I paraphrase) 'I am so glad you are here. Lyrebird! is my favourite book ever and I wanted to meet the person who wrote it.'

Thank you to the YABBA organisers. I have returned to my desk, refreshed, inspired and validated.

BTW: the results of the bird vote are out. Australia's favourite bird is the Superb Fairy-wren. Over 8000 people voted.

(That should read KERIN with one R. Hey! Do I look I bothered?)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Village (Edinburgh Gardens) 2013

Looking a bit crumpled and worse for wear, its not surprising! The Village Festival is creative chaos. This year I had the pleasure of working with story mates, Andrew McKenna, Niki na Meadhra and Teena Hartnett. The best part of the weekend (apart form telling stories to loads of young people and their wranglers) was hanging out with like-minded story folk.

This is a pic of the little caravan that Niki and I used as our story space. Perfect!

Learn more about The Village and my story friends can be found HERE

Melbourne Library Service: Reading Trail Picnic 2013

The Melbourne Library Service is a great supporter of traditional oral storytelling. Not only have they assisted Storytelling Australia (Victoria) with space to to meet, they have employed storytellers for librarian training and other storytelling events. Last week I was excited to be part of the inaugural Reading Trail in the Carlton Gardens. The trail featured, authors, illustrators and traditional storytellers including Clare Saxby, Mark Wilson, Adam Wallace, Julie Perrin, Niki na Meadhra and others. We were well spaced under the old trees and just as well as almost 200 children from nearby schools descended into the Park with much whooping and excitement. I was to busy to take many photos of the day. Only one pair of hands unfortunately. But here is a glimpse.

pics: story mate Niki na Meadhraall set up and waiting, 


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